By Shira Sorko-Ram
At 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning, Lebanese authorities received information that a building in Qana, housing around 100 sleeping children and elderly, had just been bombed and the building had collapsed.
The report stated that 56 were now buried in the rubble, 34 of them children. Horrible, tragic photographic images were sent around the world of dead children and weeping rescue workers.
The event, called the “Qana Massacre” was considered the turning point in Israel’s relationship with international media - when world public opinion began to sharply side with Lebanon and even Hizbollah.
However, inexplicable inconsistencies in the story and the pictures of Qana immediately surfaced and became so apparent that Israel’s top intel people were scratching their heads to explain for the unfolding events.
Here is what we know happened: In the preceding days, Israel had dropped leaflets over Qana, warning citizens to leave the town immediately as Israel would be bombing that area with the goal of destroying the Hizbollah center located there.
In fact, over the first two weeks of the war, 150 Hizbollah rockets had been aimed at Israel’s cities from the town of Qana, causing deaths and many horrible injuries.
Just after midnight on July 30, Israel’s air force struck a building in Qana, which was targeted after Hizbollah rockets were launched from that building or ones nearby.
When the report of Israel’s bombing of Qana reached the media, a cry went up around the world at this atrocity. Israel’s prime minister and the Israel Defence Forces immediately apologized for the 56 dead, explaining that their intel had told them this area was a Hizbollah center and that the buildings were completely unoccupied.
Photographer Adnan Hajj used Photoshop software to add additional decoy
flares by cloning them from the first. reuters “killed” the picture and fired the
photographer after bloggers pointed out the fake picture.
Under the glaring spotlight of caustic journalists and the world press, Brigadier General Amir Eshel, Head of the Air Force Headquarters, again explained to the world that 150 rockets from a very high number of launchers had been fired by Hizbollah from the town of Qana and its surrounding areas - plus a diverse range of activities from the command center had been observed. That particular building had been targeted because Hizbollah launchers had been driven in and parked under the building.
But no apology was seemingly acceptable to the UN and the world castigated Israel for her “war crimes against humanity.” The U.S. backing for Israel to continue its war campaign to wipe out Hizbollah weakened and the move to pass a cease-fire resolution in the Security Council quickly gathered steam.
What made this tragedy so agonizing is that in 1996, a similar tragedy had happened when Israel hit a UN outpost in the same village. The UN had not communicated with Israel that there were Lebanese citizens taking shelter in the outpost. Over 100 Lebanese, mostly women and children, were killed, putting a premature end to Israel’s attempt to wipe out Hizbollah ten years ago. This current tragedy was like a repeating nightmare out of the past.
However, this time, almost immediately there surfaced many enigmas and inconsistencies that needed answers. The Red Cross arrived and verified that there were 28 bodies, not 56 as reported earlier.
But most perplexing, it became apparent that although the Israeli air force knew exactly what time the building had been bombed (just after midnight,) it was only at 8:00 a.m. that the building actually collapsed on the sleeping children, according to local Lebanese sources.
Israel Defense Force’s Major General Gadi Eisnkot confirmed that the building had definitely not been bombed again at 8:00 a.m.; he had no idea as to how the building could have collapsed seven or eight hours after being initially struck. Israel’s air force had photographic proof that all bombs striking that area had reached their targets and that particular building had not been targeted a second time although half a kilometer away, other Hizbollah centers had been struck.
Eisnkot was genuinely mystified and offered the possibility that Hizbollah, according to their practice, might have stored explosives in the building that for some reason exploded the next morning. Or, that the structure, having been weakened by the earlier bombing, simply collapsed later.
However, Brent Sadler of CNN, upon arriving at the site, shockingly reported that the Israeli bomb did not even hit the building; and that the bomb had actually landed 20-30 meters from the structure.
In fact, the roof of the building was still intact. Journalist Ben Wedeman of CNN noted that there was a large crater next to the building, but he observed that the building appeared not to have collapsed as a result of the Israeli bomb strike. (http://www.israelinsider.com/ 31July06)
Next was the question of how there could have been 56 (or 28) sleeping people at 8:00 in the morning in a building that had been bombed the night before. And if the Lebanese had actually died during the midnight strike, why at only 8:00 a.m, after the building had collapsed, were the authorities notified?
When journalists asked why the Lebanese had not fled after seeing Israel’s leaflets, local Lebanese said that the roads were all closed so that people couldn’t get out. However, it was noted by the media that car loads of photographers coming in droves were able to get in and out of the village with no trouble at all.
Once the journalists had arrived, rescue workers began removing the bodies from one small opening in the collapsed structure; and journalists were not allowed to go near area of the collapsed building where the bodies were found. (ibid.)
Networks and photographers began to record the unfolding tragedy. Pictures of the event were featured in almost every main newspaper in the world and all of the networks. Again, Israel was labeled as the villain - the killer of children and the helpless.
Nevertheless, the mysteries and questions would not go away. The Israeli media noted that the pictures of some of the children in Qana on the TV and in the newspapers did not look as if they had just died - but rather as if they had been dead for days.
Even, CNN’s Wedeman noted the strange lack of blood or even signs of clotting or dried blood on many of the children. To him, they all appeared to have died while they were sleeping. Sleeping? Apparently, through thunderous Israeli air attacks
Israelis began to wonder if Hizbollah had placed children already dead in the building and then drove a launcher underneath, waiting for an Israeli bombing raid. Some of the dead actually looked as if they had been exhumed from the earth because of their color and state of decomposition.
When the building was not completely destroyed by the Israelis, one explanation would be that Hizbollah engineered a “controlled demolition” to fake an Israeli attack at 8:00 in the morning, placing the dead bodies of the children in the rubble.
Israelinsider.com, a daily news magazine, remarked,
“There is no shortage of victims in Lebanon and Israel these days. From this vantage point, at this time, it looks like in the case of Qana, the world’s media was duped in a cruel and colossal hoax by a terror organization that knows no moral bounds in its exploitation of suffering and anti-Israel hatred. But, as usual, the only party expected to pay the full price will be Israelis.” (http://www.israelinsider.com/ 31July06)
PHOTOS “ARTISTICALLY” ALTERED
Bloggers began to report that pictures coming out of Lebanon seemed to have been doctored. Blogger Charles Johnson, the same man who exposed the fact that Dan Rather had used faked documents on CBS to report on President George W. Bush’s national service, now claimed to have discovered pictures photographed by one Adnan Hajj, having been “touched up” by using Photoshop software techniques.
The first and most famous doctored picture discovered is one where Hajj paint-brushed in more smoke over Beirut to make the city look more bombed than it was. Then, bloggers found that Hajj had added two extra decoy flares trailing an F-16, calling them rockets that Israel was using to bomb Beirut. In the original picture, there was only one flare (and some even doubt that there was one.) See www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog
An embarrassed Reuters apologized and then as the furor mounted, fired Mr. Adnan Hajj. They finally removed all 920 of his pictures off the Reuter archives.
But the bloggers were just getting started. In the pictures taken of Qana on July 30, they begin to notice a certain fellow whom they named the “Green Helmet Guy” who appears over and over carrying various dead children in his arms.
On the blog site, http://www.eureferendum.blogspot.com/, July 31, 2006, editors Helen Szamuely and Richard North documented to the best of their ability, the sequence of staged shots of the Qana deaths. A few examples:
1. At 12:45 p.m. July 30, AP’s Kevin Frayer photographs a child’s body in the hands of a man who has become known as the “Green Helmet Guy” and who appears in many pictures taken in Qana and elsewhere. He is described by bloggers as wearing glasses, “designer stubble” for a beard, blue tee-shirt, jeans and an olive green military-style helmet and fluorescent jacket. Note blue helmeted UN soldiers who came to the scene about this time according to eureferendum.blogspot.com.
2. We find that eight minutes later, Kevin Frayer had taken another picture of the same child. This means that “Green Helmet” is not just a civil defense person digging up bodies, but also taking time to parade the bodies around before the many photographers.
3. These are horrifying pictures, but for truth’s sake, we must proceed. Here we see a photo of this same child being dug out of the dirt where he supposedly died.
Blogger eureferendum.blogspot.com was not able to identify the photographer nor the time, nor could we find it in Reuters or AP’s files. Note, the blue pacifier is already visible on the left side of the body.
4. Here we have a picture of the same scene with a time stamp and the photographer’s name - none other than Adnan Hajj, the man who faked the two photos we spoke of. He is the only photographer we have been able to ascertain that was allowed into the place where the child was “uncovered.”
5.& 6. At 4:09 p.m., Mr. Frayer of AP is still taking pictures of “Green Helmet” parading around with the same child. Twenty-one minutes later, Adnan Hajj (6) continues the photo op. Obviously from these photos, one can see that Mr. “Green Helmet” is a professional dead-baby presenter, a Hizbullah propagandist. The Hajj photos were “killed” by Reuters, but AP stood by theirs.
7. Here is a shot, timed at 7:21 a.m. of a dead girl lying in a ambulance. Note, this photo was taken by AP photographer Lefteris Pitarakis 39 minutes before the house collapsed, supposedly killing the children.
8. Three hours later (10:25 a.m.) the child is again put in the ambulance, photographed by Mohammed Zaatari of AP. This time, “Green Helmet” has taken off his helmet and fluorescent jacket.
Photo agencies responded that the time stamp does not always represent the hour the picture is taken but when it is received by the agency. Maybe that is the explanation for the large spread of hours of photo-taking of the same children over and over again. Maybe.
Bloggers, hundreds of thousands of them, have begun to examine the questionably staged pictures of Qana. In so doing they found that “Green Helmet” appears in other locations in Lebanon - almost always with a dead child. In fact he was present in photos at the first bombing of Qana ten years ago - holding dead children!
While Reuters took all of Adnan’s Hajj pictures out of their archives, admitting some wrong doing, Kathleen Carroll, senior vice president and executive editor for Associated Press, denies any wrongdoing. She says she has personally spoken with her photo editors and concludes, “I also know from 30 years of experience in this business that you can’t get competitive journalists to participate in the kind of (staging) experience that is being described.” photographers working for Polaris, The Times and Time, also claim that they saw no staging whatsoever at Qana or anywhere else.
However, it happens that the German Zapp video magazine released raw footage of NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk) agency, of the “Green Helmet Guy” indisputably staging photo ops for the press. He instructs workers to put a body in an ambulance, then to take it out again. He then brings the body on a stretcher towards the camera and removes the body from one stretcher to the other for effect. He then faces the camera and makes a motion with his hands to continue shooting. (You must view the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vPAkc5CLgc&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Foutcut%2Eblogsp) Fox News recently aired the video.
Bloggers Szamuely and North call AP’s Kathleen Carroll a liar and challenges her to prove him wrong, or to clean up their agency.
Bryan Denton, an independent photographer stringer currently in Lebanon, whose work has been used by the New York Times, wrote in another blog that he himself had witnessed Lebanese photographers “choreographing the unearthing of bodies; directing emergency workers here and there; asking them to position bodies just so; even removing bodies that have already been put in graves; so that they can photograph them in people’s arms…”
Denton continues, “I think that the onus is on the wire services themselves because they act as the employer/filter of their photographers’ photos. Standards of credibility should be in place or else the rest of us [i.e. who do not fake photos] end up paying the price... this has been something I’ve noticed happening here, more than any other place I’ve worked previously.” http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com.weblog/ Bryan Denton Fri Aug 11 07:36:08 UTC 2006 Beirut, Lebanon.
FOUR WAYS TO CORRUPT NEWS COVERAGE
The most common methods being used to turn the world against Israel are:
1. Digitally manipulating and changing the photographs that have been taken.
2. Photographing scenes actually staged by Hezbollah and presenting the photos as if they were of authentic spontaneous news events.
3. Photographers themselves are staging scenes or moving objects and presenting photos of the set-ups as if they were naturally occurring (like placing a toy in the foreground of a bombed house).
4. Giving false or misleading captions to otherwise real photos that were taken at a different time or place.
Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times writes:
“[T]he obscenely anti-Israeli tenor of most of the European and world press means there’s an eager market for pictures of dead Lebanese babies.
“It’s worth noting in this context that there is no similar flow [from Israel] of propagandistic images. That’s because one side - the democratically elected government of Israel, views death as a tragedy and the other side, the Iranian-financed terrorist organization Hezbollah - sees it as an opportunity.
“In this case, turning their own dead children into material creates an opportunity to cloud the fact that every Lebanese casualty, tragic as he or she is, was killed or injured as an unavoidable consequence of Israel’s pursuit of terrorists who use their own people as human shields. Every Israeli civilian killed or injured was the victim of a terrorist attack intended to harm civilians. That alone ought to wash away any blood-stained suggestion of moral equivalency.
“That brings us to the most troubling of the possible explanations for these fraudulent photos, which is that some of the photojournalists involved are either intimidated by or sympathetic to the Hezbollah terrorists. It’s a possibility fraught with harsh implications, but it needs to be examined thoroughly and openly.” (Lebanon photos: Take a closer look, August 12, 2006)
After spending hours looking at pictures and videos on the internet of fraudulent or misleading photography, it is clear to this writer that Hizbollah very likely concocted the whole Qana story.
The world has bought into the anti-Israeli propaganda, has helped stage it and has published the images around the world. I also have no doubt that what has been exposed is only the tip of the iceberg. Hizbollah has been able to create a culture of deception and hoax; promoting the world’s perception that Israel is the aggressor and the Muslims are the victims.
Islamic fascists, as President Bush calls them, will use every single weapon of treachery and fraudulence imaginable. Indeed, every intent of the thoughts of their hearts is evil continually.
This media and airwaves propaganda war is already moving towards that prophetic time when all the nations of the world will come against Jerusalem. Be alert to these sinister tactics and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
This time the same man was found “dead” under the rubble.
Notice his green cap tucked under his left arm. After bloggers spotted the staged picture,
The New York Times quickly changed the caption, explaining the man was injured, instead of dead.
Perhaps the pole fell on him? But, then why is someone’s jacket hanging on the pole?
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Dear Maoz Partner,
“We have gotten used to the slamming of the katyusha rockets all around around us and the artillery. But I’m not afraid; I feel the prayers of the intercessors. I believe the people in the bomb shelters are suffering much more than we soldiers...”
These moving words came direct from the Israeli/Lebanese battlefield in a telephone phone call from our co-worker Gil who was called up to active military duty for the war.
The thoughts of the soldiers, who were in harm’s way until the cease fire on August 14, were mostly for the citizens of Israel in Galilee, hiding with their children in bomb shelters and listening to air raid sirens followed by ground-shaking thuds of katyusha missiles landing every few minutes.
Forty Israeli citizens were killed. Hundreds were wounded and thousands of children and adults were displaced and traumatized. The psychological and economic toll of this war will go on for years and years.
The difference between the suffering in Israel and the suffering in Lebanon is that behind every rocket falling in Israel is the fearful knowledge that there is a malignant enemy in the form of a powerful terrorist-army that lives for the day that they will be able to completely and utterly destroy the nation of Israel.
The Messianic Jews and Arab Christians throughout the central and southern parts of Israel reached out in a magnificent way to help the war victims and survivors - housing and feeding the believers in their homes or helping put them up in hotels and hostels.
But now, everyone has returned home. And they need our help. The long-range financial damage to Israel is massive. Thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed. Most businesses in the north were closed down for five weeks and people received no pay checks for these periods. Many people are in dire need of assistance.
The latest report we heard is that estimated damage and cost of the war to Israel’s economy is $6 billion for a nation of only 6,000,000 citizens!
The international media speaks constantly about how the world community must rebuild Lebanon. That is generous and good. But not one single word have we heard from that same UN about helping Israel dig out and survive their post war crisis—economically and every other way!
Maoz Ministries of course cannot help all the Israeli citizens of the north. But we believe that the Lord wants us to help as many Jewish and Arab believers in need as we possibly can. That is why we have established a “WAR VICTIMS FUND TO HELP MESSIANIC BELIEVERS”. Our goal is to provide financial assistance to Messianic believers who suffered economically from the war with at least $100 to each needy, individual believer. We can help a family of two with $200, a family of 4 with $400 and a family of 5 or more with $500.
Pastor Eitan Shishkoff wrote us concerning our War Victims Fund to help Messianic believers: “Your help would be a MAJOR blessing, since so many will not be receiving paychecks from the shut-down during the war; and then, (though we hope not) it is expected that many businesses will simply not be able to re-open at all. It is our estimate that approximately 100 families will be in need in our Akko, Haifa and Kriyot congregations…all together. As for the entire northern area?. But a very rough ballpark in the Jewish Messianic congregations would be 3500-4000 people in need.
What we promise is that we will get your gifts to the believers in the north. Every dime you give will be sent to help the Messianic believers who are victims of war. We will coordinate with the pastors so that those most in need will receive your gift first.
Here is your opportunity to reach out with your contribution to help heal the suffering of Israel’s believers in Galilee and the north and make an impact for the Kingdom of God!
For Zion’s sake,
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
P.S. Help is needed right now, as war victims return to their homes, and try to pick up the pieces of their lives. We know we can count on you. And remember to ask for your beautiful Jewish New Year Calendar! (September 2006 December 2007)
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